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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 267 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

Well, that is thanks to the United States, not the UN. It is the United States that bit the bullet and decided to go in, and it was only then that Saddam Hussein took their threat seriously. Before the United States said, "That's it. We're going in,"the Iraqis were denying they had anything. Then all of a sudden they discovered some documents that were misplaced. In support of Mr Smyth's amendment-

Mr Wood: We're sitting here talking about these serious issues, and who gives a stuff? Who gives a stuff?

MRS CROSS: What's up, Mr Wood?

Mrs Dunne: He doesn't like being here at 11.00.

Mr Wood: I don't mind. I want to do the next one

MR ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr Wood, Mrs Cross has the floor. Order, members!

MRS CROSS: I got elected. I am happy to work until midnight if I have to.

It is important that we note this:

Indeed, past sins to which the US and its allies were a party make the obligation to put things right all the more imperative. What better gesture to make amends to those who have suffered under the Ba'ath regime than to be their liberators-albeit belatedly. Disqualification based on past conduct, remember, would have disqualified Australia from any role in liberating East Timor in 1999.

Lest anyone is fooled into believing that ordinary Iraqis strongly support their nation's dictator, Hussein, consider the work of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, headed by former Labor Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans. In its informal survey of Iraqi opinion in September and October 2002 in large Iraqi cities, it noted that a significant number of the Iraqis interviewed, with surprising candour, supported the overthrow of Hussein, even if such a change required an American-led attack.

The international community should meet its obligations to the people of Iraq to rebuild the country, to develop democratic institutions based on tolerance and to allow its people access to the benefits derived from its oil wealth. The price of that intervention must be that the international community is to be kept to its word in Iraq as much as in Afghanistan even when more immediate issues distract the attention of decision-makers. This task to redouble the campaign for human rights, the rule of law, and secular, tolerant democracy is the far, far preferable option than do nothing.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has articulated such a challenge powerfully and persuasively. It's just a pity his Labor party comrades here have failed to heed his message.

MR PRATT (11.19): Mr Speaker, I rise to support Mr Smyth's motion. It is clear, it is concise and it packs a very firm message. It does offer a solution, and I don't see-

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